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1.  Health care workers in Pearl River Delta Area of China are not vaccinated adequately against hepatitis B: a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:542.
Health-care workers’ (HCWs) exposure to bodily fluids puts them at risk of hepatitis B virus HBV infection. This study investigated HBV vaccination practices and outcomes in HCWs and assessed postvaccination seroprotection across HCWs in different departments.
A survey of HCWs in a Chinese public general hospital was carried out with a retrospective cohort of 1420 hospital HCWs (458 males and 962 females). HBV vaccination status (10-μg/dose used) was investigated in the cohort from vaccination records from the period of 1988 to 2008. Blood samples were collected and tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV antibodies (anti-HBs).
The overall vaccination (complete course) and HBsAg carrier rates among HCWs were 40.42 % (574/1420) and 6.13 % (87/1420), respectively. Vaccination rates differed by department, with HCWs in internal medicine (39.5 %) and emergency (42.0 %) departments having particularly low rates. The natural infection rate was 7.53 % (107/1420) among HCWs. HCWs in the department of infectious diseases (vaccination rate, 57.8 %) had the highest rate of antibody produced by natural infection (88.2 %).
The vaccination rate was a disappointingly low among HCWs in Pearl River Delta Area of China. HCWs working in infectious diseases departments and technicians were at particularly likely to have been infected with HBV. A concerted effort is needed to bring vaccination rates up among Chinese HCWs in Pearl River Delta Area of southern China.
PMCID: PMC4655081  PMID: 26590815
Vaccination; Hepatitis B; Hospital; Immunity; Occupational risk
2.  Prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Tanzania 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:386.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of contracting HBV infection through their occupation. Vaccination of HCWs against HBV is standard practice in many countries, but is often not implemented in resource-poor settings. We aimed with this cross-sectional study to determine HBV prevalence, HCW vaccination status, and the risk factors for HCWs contracting HBV infection in Tanzania.
We enrolled 600 HCWs from a tertiary Tanzanian hospital. Their demographics, medical histories, HBV vaccination details and risk factors for contracting blood-borne infections were collected using a standardized questionnaire. Serum samples were tested for HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) markers by ELISA techniques, PCR and an anti-HBs rapid test. HCWs were divided in two subgroups: those at risk of contracting HBV (rHCW 79.2 %) via exposure to potentially infectious materials, and those considered not at risk of contracting HBV (nrHCW, 20.8 %).
The overall prevalence of chronic HBV infection (HBsAg+, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs-) was 7.0 % (42/598). Chronic HBV infection was found in 7.4 % of rHCW versus 5.6 % of nrHCW (p-value = 0.484). HCWs susceptible to HBV (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs-) comprised 31.3 %. HBV immunity achieved either by healed HBV infection (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBs+) or by vaccination (HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, anti-HBs+) comprised 36.5 % and 20.2 %, respectively. 4.8 % of participants had indeterminate results (HBsAg-, anti-HBc+, anti-HBc-IgM-, anti-HBs-). Only 77.1 % of HCWs who received a full vaccination course had an anti-HBs titer >10 ml/U. An anti-HBs point-of-care test was 80.7 % sensitive and 96.9 % specific. There was a significantly higher risk for contracting HBV (anti-HBc+) among those HCW at occupational risk (rHCW) of older age (odds ratios (OR) in rHCW 3.297, p < 0.0001 vs. nrHCW 1.385, p = 0.606) and among those HCW being employed more than 11 years (OR 2.51, p < 0.0001***). HCV prevalence was low (HCV antibodies 1.2 % and HCV-RNA 0.3 %).
Chronic HBV infection is common among Tanzanian HCWs. One third of HCWs were susceptible to HBV infection, highlighting the need for vaccination. Due to high prevalence of naturally acquired immunity against HBV pre-testing might be a useful tool to identify susceptible individuals.
PMCID: PMC4581415  PMID: 26399765
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Health care workers; Point-of-care test; Tanzania
3.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
4.  Durability of Antibody Response Against Hepatitis B Virus in Healthcare Workers Vaccinated as Adults 
Protective antibody levels persist long-term in a majority of healthcare workers after initial immunization. Those without protective levels have a rapid and robust response to a booster vaccine, suggesting that immunologic memory is long-lasting and booster vaccination is probably unnecessary.
Background. Follow-up studies of recipients of hepatitis B vaccine from endemic areas have reported loss of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) in a high proportion of persons vaccinated at birth. In contrast, the long-term durability of antibody in persons vaccinated as adults in nonendemic areas is not well defined. We aimed to assess the durability of anti-HBs among healthcare workers (HCWs) vaccinated as adults and response to a booster among those without protective levels of antibody.
Methods. Adult HCWs aged 18–60 at the time of initial vaccination were recruited. All were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and anti-HBs level. HCWs with anti-HBs <12 mIU/mL were offered a booster and levels were measured 1, 7, and 21 days afterward.
Results. Anti-HBs levels were <12 mIU/mL in 9 of 50 (18%), 13 of 50 (26%), and 14 of 59 (24%) HCWs 10–15, 16–20, and >20 years postvaccination, respectively, (P = ns). Four HCWs were anti-HBc positive; none had HBsAg. By logistic regression, older age at vaccination was the only predictor of inadequate anti-HBs level (P = .0005). Thirty-four of 36 subjects with inadequate anti-HBs levels received a booster and 32 (94%) developed levels >12 mIU/mL within 3 weeks.
Conclusions. Anti-HBs levels decrease after 10–31 years and fall below a level considered protective in approximately 25% of cases. The rapid and robust response to a booster vaccine suggests a long-lasting amnestic response. Hepatitis B vaccination provides long-term protection against hepatitis B and booster vaccination does not appear to be necessary in HCWs.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT01182311.
PMCID: PMC4318915  PMID: 25389254
hepatitis B vaccine; healthcare workers; booster vaccination; chronic hepatitis B
5.  Immune Responses to Single-Dose Versus Double-Dose Hepatitis B Vaccines in Healthcare Workers not Responding to the Primary Vaccine Series: A Randomized Clinical Trial 
Hepatitis Monthly  2016;16(2):e32799.
Recommendations to immunize healthcare workers (HCWs) against hepatitis B are well known. However, a proportion of individuals do not respond to the primary standard three-dose HB vaccination schedule.
The current study aimed to evaluate whether a double-dose HB booster vaccine could induce better protective anti-HB titers than a single-dose booster in non-protected HCWs.
Materials and Methods
This was a randomized clinical trial. A total of 91 HCWs not responding to the primary vaccine series in 2014 were enrolled. The participants were randomized into two groups that received a double dose of the HB vaccine containing 40 µg of antigen or a single dose of the HB vaccine containing 20 µg of antigen in three doses (at zero, one and six months after vaccination). Blood samples were collected before vaccinations and 28 days after the third dose to assess the seroconversion rate, according to the anti-HB antibody titer threshold of > 10 mIU/mL.
The seroconversion rates were 93.2% and 87.2% after the first booster doses of the double-dose and single-dose HB vaccines, respectively (P = 0.64). In the double-dose HB vaccine group, the seroconversion rate was 97.8% compared with 89.6% in the single-dose group following the second vaccine dose (P = 0.83). All of the participants in both groups were seroprotected after the third HB vaccine dose.
Both the single- and double-dose HB vaccines were adequately immunogenic, and the double-dose HB vaccine was not significantly more immunogenic than the single-dose vaccine in terms of the seroconversion rates of HCWs who had not responded to the primary vaccine series.
PMCID: PMC4852093  PMID: 27148385
Healthcare Personnel; Immunogenicity; Immune Response Antigens; Hepatitis B Vaccine; Healthcare
6.  Hepatitis B Immunisation in Health Care Workers 
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is an important occupational risk in health care workers (HCW). In spite of HBV vaccine availability in Armed Forces, the high prevalence of HBV infection in HCW continues to be a problem. The study was undertaken to study the HBV vaccine-compliance among HCW.
A cross-sectional study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital. HCW were requested to fill up the pre set questionnaire to assess the HBV vaccination coverage.
Amongst 254 HCW, only 57.7% were vaccinated against HBV. The vaccine compliance was lowest among housekeeping professionals. The mean age at vaccination was high (30.5 years). Amongst the vaccine non-compliant subjects, 34.3% were above 30 years of age. 32.2% HCW completed primary vaccination after spending more than 10 years in the profession. Accessibility of HBV vaccine, knowledge and perception of HBV risk were important factors in vaccine non-compliance.
Due to low and delayed HBV vaccine-compliance, HCW continue to be at the risk of occupational HBV. Health education highlighting occupational risk of HBV, accessibility of vaccine and mandatory vaccination of HCW is recommended to increase HBV vaccine compliance among HCW.
PMCID: PMC4921450  PMID: 27408182
Health care workers; Hepatitis B virus; Occupational risk; Hepatitis B vaccine
7.  Hepatitis B immunization in healthcare workers 
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The aim of the study was to evaluate HBV immunization status and anti-HBs titer among HCWs.
AntiHBs titer was prospectively examined in all vaccinated of the 464 HCWs enrolled. A comparison was done between two groups who had received vaccination within or beyond 5 years (Group A >5 years, Group B <5 years) and also between those who received a booster dose, Group I (<1 year) and Group II (>1 year).
49.6% HCWs were vaccinated, 46.1% were unvaccinated, and 4.3% were partially vaccinated. Among HCWs, doctors had the highest vaccination rate of 92.5%, followed by medical students (62.4%), nursing staff (41.6%), technical staff (24.2%), administrative staff (12.1%), nursing students (8.5%), and grade IV/laundry staff (0%). Of the vaccinated HCWs, 30% had anti-HBs titer <10 mIU/mL, 10.8% between 10-100 mIU/mL, and 59.2% >100 mIU/mL. Mean anti-HBs titer between groups A and B was 334.8 and 649.2 mIU/mL, respectively (P<0.05); mean anti-HBs titer between groups I and II was 1742.7 and 629.2 mIU, respectively (P<0.002).
A significant proportion of HCWs is unvaccinated. A fair proportion of fully vaccinated HCWs can have low titers to protect them against HBV infection. Measuring anti-HBs titer, administering a booster dose, and offering general screening for HBs antigen should be made compulsory for HCWs.
PMCID: PMC4367220  PMID: 25830669
Healthcare workers; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus
8.  Influenza and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Croatian hospitals: a series of cross-sectional surveys, 2006–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:520.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases. Vaccination lowers morbidity and mortality of HCWs and their patients. To assess vaccination coverage for influenza and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among HCWs in Croatian hospitals, we conducted yearly nationwide surveys.
From 2006 to 2011, all 66 Croatian public hospitals, representing 43–60% of all the HCWs in Croatia, were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, Dunn’s multiple comparison analysis and the chi-square test, as appropriate.
The median seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates in pre-pandemic (2006–2008) seasons were 36%, 25% and 29%, respectively. By occupation, influenza vaccination rates among physicians were 33 ± 21%, 33 ± 22% among graduate nurses, 30±34% among other HCWs, 26 ± 21% among housekeeping and the lowest, 23 ± 17%, among practical nurses (p < 0.01). In 2009–2010 season, seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 30%, while overall vaccination coverage against pandemic influenza was fewer than 5%. Median vaccination coverage in the post-pandemic seasons of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 decreased to 15% and 14%, respectively (reduction of 24% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the median mandatory HBV vaccination coverage was 98%, albeit with considerable differences according to work setting (range 19–100%) and occupation (range 4–100%).
We found substantial year-on-year variations in seasonal influenza vaccination rates, with reduction in post pandemic influenza seasons. HBV vaccination is satisfactory compared to seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, although substantial variations by occupation and work setting were observed. These findings highlight the need for national strategies that optimize vaccination coverage among HCWs in Croatian hospitals. Further studies are needed to establish the potential role of mandatory vaccination for seasonal influenza.
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
9.  Promotion of influenza vaccination among health care workers: findings from a tertiary care children’s hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:697.
The aims of this study were: a) to evaluate attitudes and practices of health care workers (HCWs) towards influenza vaccination and their opinion regarding a vaccination promotion toolkit; b) to estimate hospital HCWs’ influenza vaccination coverage rates (VC).
The Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital (OPBG) is an academic hospital in Italy. Since 2009, free influenza vaccination is offered to HCWs during working hours. In October-December 2013, a communication campaign based on a standardized toolkit was conducted. In December 2013, we performed a cross-sectional survey in a sample of hospital wards, based on a self-administered questionnaire including participants’ characteristics; self-reported influenza vaccination history; reasons for vaccination or missed vaccination; opinion regarding the toolkit. Multivariable logistic analysis was used to assess independent predictors of influenza vaccination status. Annual VC for years 2009–2013 was estimated by using the number of seasonal influenza vaccine doses administered to HCWs as numerator, and the number of hospital HCWs as denominator.
Out of 191 HCWs who participated in the survey, 35.6 % reported at least one influenza vaccination during their life; 6.8 % adhered to annual revaccination. Years of service and professional category were significantly and independently associated with vaccination (adjusted-OR: 2.4 for > 10 years of service, compared to < 5 years of service; adjusted-OR: 2.6 for physicians compared to nurses). Patient protection was the main reported reason for vaccination (34.3 %); considering influenza a mild disease was the main reason for non-vaccination (36.9 %); poor vaccine effectiveness was the main reason for missed annual revaccination (28.8 %). Overall, 75 % of respondents saw at least one promotion tool; 65.6 % of them found the information useful. Hospital VC decreased from 30 % in 2009, to 5 % in 2012. In 2013, VC was 14 %.
Satisfactory influenza VC in HCWs is hard to achieve. In 2013, along with the toolkit implementation, we observed an increase in HCWs’ vaccination coverage, nevertheless, it remained unsatisfactory. Tailored information strategies targeting nurses and recently employed HCWs should be implemented. Institution of declination statements, adding influenza vaccination to financial incentive systems, or vaccination requirements should also be considered to increase influenza VC among HCWs.
PMCID: PMC4513703  PMID: 26204896
Influenza vaccine; Healthcare workers; Communication campaign; Attitudes
10.  Low vaccination coverage among italian healthcare workers in 2013 
Vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) reduces the risk of occupational infections, prevents nosocomial transmission and maintains healthcare delivery during outbreaks. Despite the European directive and national legislation on workers’ protection, immunization coverage among HCWs has often been very low. In light of Italian National Vaccination Plan 2012–2014 recommendations, the aim of this study was to assess levels of immunization and factors influencing adherence to vaccinations needed for HCWs in Puglia region, South Italy. The study was conducted using an interview-based standardized anonymous questionnaire administered to hospital employees in the period November 2009-March 2011. A total of 2198 health professionals responded in 51/69 Apulian hospitals (median age: 45 years; 65.2% nurses, 22.6% doctors and 12.2% other hospital personnel). Vaccination coverage was 24.8% for influenza, 70.1% for hepatitis B, 9.7% for MMR, 3.6% for varicella, and 15.5% for Td booster. Receiving counselling from occupational health physicians (OHPs) was associated with influenza (OR = 1.8; 95%CI = 1.5–2.2; P < 0.001), hepatitis B (OR = 4.9; 95%CI = 3.9–6.3; P < 0.001), varicella (OR = 43.7; 95%CI = 18.9–101.7; P < 0.001), MMR (OR = 8.8; 95%CI = 4.1–18.6; P < 0.001) and tetanus (OR = 50.5; 95%CI = 30.1–88.3; P < 0.001) vaccine uptake.
OHPs should be trained with standard guidelines specific for healthcare settings and HCWs’ risk groups to facilitate their crucial role in improving vaccine coverage among HCWs and increase awareness on the duty to protect both employees and patients.
PMCID: PMC4514380  PMID: 25483526
healthcare workers; vaccine; influenza; hepatitis B; measles; mumps; rubella; varicella; Td booster
11.  Lack of implementation of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) vaccination policy in household contacts of HBV carriers in Italy 
In Italy, HBV vaccination is recommended and offered free of charge through the National Health Service to selected population groups – e.g., family members of an HBsAg carrier, healthcare workers, newborns and those who were 12-years old in 1991. However, a significant proportion of cases of acute hepatitis B still occur in Italy among persons who should have been vaccinated. We analysed HBV sero-prevalence data of two vaccination target populations (people born after 1980 and household contacts of an HBV carrier) living in a southern Italian area in order to evaluate HBV vaccine coverage and its possible determinants.
Between 2003 and 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional, population-based, sero-epidemiological survey on HBV infection on 4496 randomly selected individuals (aged 20 years or more) from the general population of the province of Naples. Sera were tested for antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBsAg) by commercial immunoassays. Prevalence of past or current HBV infection and of HBV vaccination-induced immunity was calculated in two vaccination target populations. To analyze the association of epidemiological and socioeconomic characteristics with HBV vaccination of household contacts, we calculated crude and multiple logistic regression (MLR) odds ratio (OR).
Prevalence of HBV vaccine-induced immunity (anti-HBs alone) was much lower among household contacts (25%) than among those who had been targeted for universal adolescent vaccination (81.6%). Male sex, older age, unemployment and lower education levels were associated to lower immunization rates.
Understanding the different uptake of hepatitis B vaccination in these populations may provide useful information for optimizing vaccination campaigns in other contexts. Our data clearly demonstrated the need of improving the uptake of vaccination for household contacts of HBV carriers.
PMCID: PMC2702368  PMID: 19500412
12.  Hepatitis B and C seroprevalence among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Rwanda 
Hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) are significant global public health challenges with health care workers (HCWs) at especially high risk of exposure in resource-poor settings. We aimed to measure HBV and HCV prevalence, identify exposure risks and evaluate hepatitis-related knowledge amongst Rwandan tertiary hospital HCWs.
A cross sectional study involving tertiary hospital employees was conducted from October to December 2013. A pre-coded questionnaire was used to collect data on HCWs' socio-demographics, risk factors and knowledge of blood-borne infection prevention. Blood samples were drawn and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies.
Among 378 consenting HCWs, the prevalence of HBsAg positivity was 2.9% (11/378; 95% CI: 1.9 to 4.6%) and anti-HCV positivity 1.3% (5/378; 95% CI: 0.7 to 2.7%). Occupational exposure to blood was reported in 57.1% (216/378). Of the 17 participants (4.5%; 17/378) who reported having received the HBV vaccine, only 3 participants (0.8%) had received the three-dose vaccination course. Only 42 HCWs (42/378; 11.1%) were aware that a HBV vaccine was available. Most HCW (95.2%; 360/378) reported having been tested for HIV in the last 6 months.
Despite their high workplace exposure risk, HBV and HCV sero-prevalence rates among HCWs were low. The low HBV vaccination coverage and poor knowledge of preventative measures among HCWs suggest low levels of viral hepatitis awareness despite this high exposure.
PMCID: PMC4321023  PMID: 25636951
Health care workers; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Rwanda
13.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
14.  Is Universal HBV Vaccination of Healthcare Workers a Relevant Strategy in Developing Endemic Countries? The Case of a University Hospital in Niger 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44442.
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a serious risk to healthcare workers (HCWs) in endemic developing countries owing to the strong prevalence of HBV in the general and hospital populations, and to the high rate of occupational blood exposure. Routine HBV vaccination programs targeted to high-risk groups and especially to HCWs are generally considered as a key element of prevention strategies. However, the high rate of natural immunization among adults in such countries where most infections occur perinatally or during early childhood must be taken into account.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a cross sectional study in 207 personnel of 4 occupational groups (medical, paramedical, cleaning staff, and administrative) in Niamey’s National Hospital, Niger, in order to assess the prevalence of HBV markers, to evaluate susceptibility to HBV infection, and to identify personnel who might benefit from vaccination. The proportion of those who declared a history of occupational blood exposure ranged from 18.9% in the administrative staff to 46.9% in paramedical staff. Only 7.2% had a history of vaccination against HBV with at least 3 injections. Ninety two percent were anti-HBc positive. When we focused on170 HCWs, only 12 (7.1%) showed no biological HBV contact. Twenty six were HBsAg positive (15,3%; 95% confidence interval: 9.9%–20.7%) of whom 8 (32%) had a viral load >2000 IU/ml.
The very small proportion of HCWs susceptible to HBV infection in our study and other studies suggests that in a global approach to prevent occupational infection by bloodborne pathogens, a universal hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs is not priority in these settings. The greatest impact on the risk will most likely be achieved by focusing efforts on primary prevention strategies to reduce occupational blood exposure. HBV screening in HCWs and treatment of those with chronic HBV infection should be however considered.
PMCID: PMC3436880  PMID: 22970218
15.  Determinants of influenza vaccination uptake among Italian healthcare workers 
We analyzed seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among the Italian healthcare workers (HCW) in order to identify socio-demographic and clinical determinants of vaccination.
We used data from the survey “Health and health care use in Italy,” which comprised interviews of 5,336 HCWs For each respondent, information on socioeconomic, health conditions, self-perceived health and smoking status were obtained. After bivariate analysis, we used multilevel regression models to assess determinants of immunization. Overall 20.8% of HCWs (95%CI 19.7–21.9) reported being vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
After controlling for potential confounders, multilevel regression revealed that older workers have a higher likelihood of vaccine uptake (OR = 6.07; 95% CI 4.72–7.79). Conversely, higher education was associated with lower vaccine uptake (OR = 0.65; 95% IC 0.50–0.83). Those suffering from diabetes (OR = 2.07; 95% CI 1.19–1.69), COPD (OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.31–2.89) and cardiovascular diseases (OR = 1.48 95% CI 1.11–1.96) were more likely to be vaccinated. Likewise, smokers, or former smokers receive more frequently the vaccination (OR = 1.40; 95% CI 1.15–1.70; OR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.24–1.91, respectively) compared with never-smokers as well as those HCWs reporting fair or poor perceived health status (ORs of 1.68, 95% CI 1.30–2.18).
Vaccine coverage among HCWs in Italy remains low, especially among those with no comorbidities and being younger than 44 y old. This behavior not only raises questions regarding healthcare organization, infection control in healthcare settings and clinical costs, but also brings up ethical issues concerning physicians who seem not to be very concerned about the impact of the flu on themselves, as well as on their patients. Influenza vaccination campaigns will only be effective if HCWs understand their role in influenza transmission and prevention, and realize the importance of vaccination as a preventive measure
PMCID: PMC3903913  PMID: 24064543
administration and dosage; attitude of health personnel; health behavior; human prevention and control; influenza; influenza vaccines; socioeconomic factors
16.  Vaccination coverage for seasonal influenza among residents and health care workers in Norwegian nursing homes during the 2012/13 season, a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:434.
WHO has set a goal of 75% vaccination coverage (VC) for seasonal influenza for residents and also recommends immunization for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in nursing homes (NHs). We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the VC for seasonal influenza vaccination in Norwegian NHs in 2012/2013 since the VC in NHs and HCWs is unknown.
We gathered information from NHs concerning VC for residents and HCWs, and vaccination costs for HCWs, using a web-based questionnaire. We calculated VC among NH residents by dividing the number of residents vaccinated by the total number of residents for each NH. VC among HCWs was similarly calculated by dividing the number of HCWs vaccinated by the total number of HCWs for each NH. The association between VC and possible demographic variables were explored.
Of 910 NHs, 354 (38.9%) responded. Median VC per NH was 71.7% (range 0-100) among residents and 0% (range 0-100) among HCWs, with 214 (60%) NHs reporting that none of their HCWs was vaccinated. Median VC for HCWs in NHs with an annual vaccination campaign was 0% (range 0-53), compared to when they did not have an annual vaccination campaign 0% (range 0-12); the distributions in the two groups differed significantly (Mann–Whitney U, P = 0.006 two tailed).
Median influenza VC in Norwegian NHs was marginally lower than recommended among residents and exceptionally low among HCWs. The VC in HCWs was significantly higher when NHs had an annual vaccination campaign. We recommend that NHs implement measures to increase VC among residents and HCWs, including vaccination campaigns and studies to identify potential barriers to vaccination.
PMCID: PMC4049507  PMID: 24885662
17.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
18.  Long-Term Immunogenicity of the Pandemic Influenza A/H1N1 2009 Vaccine among Health Care Workers: Influence of Prior Seasonal Influenza Vaccination 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at great risk of influenza infection and transmission. Vaccination for seasonal influenza is routinely recommended, but this strategy should be reconsidered in a pandemic situation. Between October 2009 and September 2010, a multicenter study was conducted to assess the long-term immunogenicity of the A/H1N1 2009 monovalent influenza vaccine among HCWs compared to non-health care workers (NHCWs). The influence of prior seasonal influenza vaccination was also assessed with respect to the immunogenicity of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine. Serum hemagglutinin inhibition titers were determined prevaccination and then at 1, 6, and 10 months after vaccination. Of the 360 enrolled HCW subjects, 289 participated in the study up to 10 months after H1N1 monovalent influenza vaccination, while 60 of 65 NHCW subjects were followed up. Seroprotection rates, seroconversion rates, and geometric mean titer (GMT) ratios fulfilled the European Union's licensure criteria for influenza A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) at 1 month after vaccination in both the HCWs and NHCWs, without any significant difference. At 6 months after vaccination, the seroprotection rate was more significantly lowered among the NHCWs than among the HCWs (P < 0.01). Overall, postvaccination (1, 6, and 10 months after vaccination) GMTs for A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) were significantly lower among the seasonal influenza vaccine recipients than among the nonrecipients (P < 0.05). In conclusion, HCWs should be encouraged to receive an annual influenza vaccination, considering the risk of repeated exposure. However, prior reception of seasonal influenza vaccine showed a negative influence on immunogenicity for the pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3623406  PMID: 23365206
19.  Determinants of adherence to seasonal influenza vaccination among healthcare workers from an Italian region: results from a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2016;6(5):e010779.
Notwithstanding decades of efforts to increase the uptake of seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination among European healthcare workers (HCWs), the immunisation rates are still unsatisfactory. In order to understand the reasons for the low adherence to flu vaccination, a study was carried out among HCWs of two healthcare organisations in Liguria, a region in northwest Italy.
A cross-sectional study based on anonymous self-administered web questionnaires was carried out between October 2013 and February 2014. Through univariate and multivariate regression analysis, the study investigated the association between demographic and professional characteristics, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of the study participants and (i) the seasonal flu vaccination uptake in the 2013/2014 season and (ii) the self-reported number of flu vaccination uptakes in the six consecutive seasons from 2008/2009 to 2013/2014.
A total of 830 HCWs completed the survey. Factors statistically associated with flu vaccination uptake in the 2013/2014 season were: being a medical doctor and agreeing with the statements ‘flu vaccine is safe’, ‘HCWs have a higher risk of getting flu’ and ‘HCWs should receive flu vaccination every year’. A barrier to vaccination was the belief that pharmaceutical companies influence decisions about vaccination strategies.
All the above-mentioned factors, except the last one, were (significantly) associated with the number of flu vaccination uptakes self-reported by the respondents between season 2008/2009 and season 2013/2014. Other significantly associated factors appeared to be level of education, being affected by at least one chronic disease, and agreeing with mandatory flu vaccination in healthcare settings.
This survey allows us to better understand the determinants of adherence to vaccination as a fundamental preventive strategy against flu among Italian HCWs. These findings should be used to improve and customise any future promotion campaigns to overcome identified barriers to immunisation.
PMCID: PMC4874132  PMID: 27188810
Influenza vaccine; healthcare workers; adherence; Italy
20.  Protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers: a review of the role of influenza vaccination 
International Nursing Review  2011;59(2):161-167.
MUSIC T. (2012) A review of the role the role of influenza vaccination in protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers the role of influenza vaccination. International Nursing Review59, 161–167
Many health authorities recommend routine influenza vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs), and during the 2009 A (H1N1) pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended immunization of all HCWs worldwide. As this remains an important area of policy debate, this paper examines the case for vaccination, the role of local guidelines, barriers to immunization and initiatives to increase uptake.
Seasonal influenza is a major threat to public health, causing up to 1 million deaths annually. Extensive evidence supports the vaccination of priority groups, including HCWs. Immunization protects HCWs themselves, and their vulnerable patients from nosocomial influenza infections. In addition, influenza can disrupt health services and impact healthcare organizations financially. Immunization can reduce staff absences, offer cost savings and provide economic benefits.
This paper reviews official immunization recommendations and HCW vaccination studies, including a recent International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) survey of 26 countries from each region of the world.
HCW immunization is widely recommended and supported by the WHO. In the IFPMA study, 88% of countries recommended HCW vaccination, and 61% supported this financially (with no correlation to country development status). Overall, coverage can be improved, and research shows that uptake may be impacted by lack of conveniently available vaccines and misconceptions regarding vaccine safety/efficacy and influenza risk.
Many countries recommend HCW vaccination against influenza. In recent years, there has been an increased uptake rate among HCWs in some countries, but not in others. Several initiatives can increase coverage, including education, easy access to free vaccines and the use of formal declination forms. The case for HCW vaccination is clear, and in an effort to further accelerate uptake as a patient safety measure, an increasing number of healthcare organizations, particularly in the USA, are implementing mandatory immunization policies, similar to other obligatory hygiene measures. However, it would be desirable if similar high vaccination uptake rates could be achieved through voluntary procedures.
PMCID: PMC3418836  PMID: 22591085
Coverage; Education; Guideline; Influenza; Policy; Recommendation; Reimbursement; Seasonal; Vaccine
21.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
22.  Comparison of long-term immunogenicity (23 y) of 10 μg and 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine in healthy children 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2012;8(8):1071-1076.
To compare the long-term immunogenicity and seroprotection rates in healthy children following 23 years of vaccination with 10 μg or 20 μg doses of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine, we revisited all participants from our previous randomized controlled trial. At year 23, 81 participants were tested for HBV serological markers and HBV-DNA, and a booster dose was given to those with anti-HBs titer < 10 mIU/mL. After eliminating the interference of a Year 11 booster dose and vaccines received outside of the trial, around 50% of participants still maintained anti-HBs titers ≥ 10 mIU/mL in both 10 μg and 20 μg groups (p > 0.05). The peak immune response of vaccination (anti-HBs antibody levels at 12 mo after 1st vaccine dose) and Year 11 anti-HBs levels were significantly associated with Year 23 seroprotection rates. Most of the participants in both groups, regardless of their prior immune status, developed a rapid and robust anamnestic antibody response after the booster dose at year 23. No case of clinically significant HBV infection was observed during the entire study period of 23 y with only one transient HBsAg seroconversion in 10 μg vaccine group. We concluded that seroprotection provided by 10μg or 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine persists for 23 years in more than half of vaccinated individuals in highly HBV-endemic areas, irrespective of 10 μg or 20 μg vaccine doses. Future studies with larger sample sizes comparing long-term efficacy of various doses of plasma-derived and recombinant HBV vaccines are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3551878  PMID: 22854666
Anamnestic response; HBV; Hepatitis B; PDV; Vaccine; anti-HBs; clinical trial; immune response; long-term; plasma-derived vaccine; vaccine intervention study
23.  Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:422.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
PMCID: PMC2651144  PMID: 19105838
24.  Role of healthcare workers in early epidemic spread of Ebola: policy implications of prophylactic compared to reactive vaccination policy in outbreak prevention and control 
BMC Medicine  2015;13:271.
Ebola causes severe illness in humans and has epidemic potential. How to deploy vaccines most effectively is a central policy question since different strategies have implications for ideal vaccine profile. More than one vaccine may be needed. A vaccine optimised for prophylactic vaccination in high-risk areas but when the virus is not actively circulating should be safe, well tolerated, and provide long-lasting protection; a two- or three-dose strategy would be realistic. Conversely, a reactive vaccine deployed in an outbreak context for ring-vaccination strategies should have rapid onset of protection with one dose, but longevity of protection is less important.
In initial cases, before an outbreak is recognised, healthcare workers (HCWs) are at particular risk of acquiring and transmitting infection, thus potentially augmenting early epidemics. We hypothesise that many early outbreak cases could be averted, or epidemics aborted, by prophylactic vaccination of HCWs. This paper explores the potential impact of prophylactic versus reactive vaccination strategies of HCWs in preventing early epidemic transmissions. To do this, we use the limited data available from Ebola epidemics (current and historic) to reconstruct transmission trees and illustrate the theoretical impact of these vaccination strategies. Our data suggest a substantial potential benefit of prophylactic versus reactive vaccination of HCWs in preventing early transmissions. We estimate that prophylactic vaccination with a coverage >99 % and theoretical 100 % efficacy could avert nearly two-thirds of cases studied; 75 % coverage would still confer clear benefit (40 % cases averted), but reactive vaccination would be of less value in the early epidemic.
A prophylactic vaccination campaign for front-line HCWs is not a trivial undertaking; whether to prioritise long-lasting vaccines and provide prophylaxis to HCWs is a live policy question. Prophylactic vaccination is likely to have a greater impact on the mitigation of future epidemics than reactive strategies and, in some cases, might prevent them. However, in a confirmed outbreak, reactive vaccination would be an essential humanitarian priority.
The value of HCW Ebola vaccination is often only seen in terms of personal protection of the HCW workforce. A prophylactic vaccination strategy is likely to bring substantial additional benefit by preventing early transmission and might abort some epidemics. This has implications both for policy and for the optimum product profile for vaccines currently in development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0477-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4612417  PMID: 26482396
Ebola; Healthcare worker; Prevention; Vaccination
25.  Attitude toward immunization and risk perception of measles, rubella, mumps, varicella, and pertussis in health care workers working in 6 hospitals of Florence, Italy 2011 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2014;10(9):2612-2622.
Background: Health care workers (HCWs) are at risk of infection and transmission of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. In recent years cases of measles or varicella in health care workers were observed with increasing frequency. The aim of our study was to investigate attitude toward immunization and risk perception of measles, rubella, mumps, varicella, and pertussis in HCWs working in 6 hospitals of Florence (Italy).
Methods: A cross-sectional survey among the physicians, nurses, midwives, and nursing assistants working in selected departments was performed trough a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire. Overall, 600 questionnaires were sent and 436 HCWs’ completed forms were included into the study (Participation rate: 72.7%). Data were analyzed with STATA 11.0® and odds ratio (OR) were calculated in a multivariate analysis.
Results: Among all respondents 74.9% were females. The average age was nearly 43-years-old (42.9 – SD 8.95). The majority of participants (58.6%) were nurses, 21.3% physicians, 12.9% nursing assistants, and 7.2% were midwives. Among those HCWs reporting no history of disease, 52.8% (95% CI: 42.0–63.3%) declared to have been immunized for measles, 46.9% for rubella (95% CI: 39.0–54.9%), 21.6% for mumps (95% CI: 15.1–29.4%), 14.9% for varicella (95% CI: 7.4–25.7%), and 14.5% for pertussis (95% CI: 10.0–20.0%). When considering potentially susceptible HCWs (without history of disease or vaccination and without serological confirmation), less than a half of them feel at risk for the concerned diseases and only less than 30% would undergo immunization. One of the main reasons of the relatively low coverage was indeed lack of active offer of vaccines.
Conclusion: Attitudes toward immunization observed in this study are generally positive for preventing some infectious diseases (i.e., measles and rubella), but relatively poor for others (i.e., varicella). More information should be made available to HCWs on the benefits of vaccination and efforts to encourage vaccination uptake should be performed. Educational program on the risk of being infected working in a hospital should be implemented in order to increase the risk perception toward infectious diseases among HCWs.
PMCID: PMC4977449  PMID: 25483489
vaccine preventable diseases; measles; rubella; mumps; varicella; pertussis; health care workers (HCWs); risk perception; HCWs immunization

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